Saturday, April 16, 2011

Four months after Merlin

I'm making Cheese Growlers for the dogs. The last time I made them was for Merlin, a Cheese Growler was the last treat he enjoyed before he got too sick to eat. At times like this I start missing him a lot. Most of the time I'm busy, surrounded by my three corgis, and have plenty to do, but sometimes reminders come.

I'm reminded whenever I do a new entry in the blog for Merlin's Friends. It has been a hard winter. Murphy left a few weeks ago; he and Merlin had run together at CPE Nationals in Elk Grove, CA in 2006, and now DM has claimed them both. Arthur is gone. Lulu left last week. I still find it hard to write about these things without tears.

It's going to be a little sad to return to Washington where we left Merlin. My mom picked up his ashes after I left for California. All my memories up there are of Merlin- I didn't have time to make any "after Merlin" memories. But I know the other dogs will benefit from more of my time and ability to go places Merlin could not go. We'll make more Corgi meetups- last year it either had to be accessible for a stroller or shady enough to leave him in the car. We'll get to the beach more often.

Merlin's cart (which I ran over just before he died) is in Oregon with Cochise, having been repaired and adjusted to fit Co, who has IVDD but was weakened to the point of needing front wheels.

On the DM front, the first of the At Risks have developed DM. I don't know what the percentages will turn out to be, but "At Risk" starts to take on a very somber meaning when a dog that was "At Risk" as a seven or eight year old is now a ten or eleven year old corgi with DM. One friend is waiting to see if her two girls, ten-year old daughters of her DM dog and both At Risk, will develop the disease. Other friends have dogs that are much younger and are waiting to learn what chance there is they, too, will develop DM.

There is good news, especially on the DM-testing and breeding front. More breeders are testing, and among those that are, some are finding clears. An influential Pembroke breeder in California just started testing (far from the first; Calfornia has been ahead of the curve in DM-testing.) More litters that are only clear and carriers are being born, and more puppy buyers are insisting on testing. I think the tide may be starting to turn; there are holdouts, of course, but eventually they will be the minority.


Ellen said...

After seeing the heartbreak you and the rest of Merlin's friends are going through, I know I won't be buying a puppy who could be At Risk. I know narrowing the gene pool is not a good thing but it needs to be addressed.

Janine's Mom said...

I agree, breeders need to be very careful about NOT narrowing the gene pool, but out-crossing to a clear to get the non-mutated gene and then back into their line should be able to be done without that problem. The generation after that, they will need to read pedigrees carefully but by then there should be enough clears that they can avoid doubling up on the gene pool. There is a great article on how Norway bred bobtailed Pems that could serve as a model on how to get rid of DM. And they started with ALL their Pems having tails at birth.

Becca said...

I just found your blog and its been inspiring and heart wrenching to read as my family is an owner of a DM Corgi. Her name is Mia and will be 11 in Oct. She has been without mobility in her hind legs for almost a year. We have yet to get her a cart but she seems really happy and healthy otherwise. She will play and wrestle around with the younger Corgi. Any advice or other information you could send me would be great ( I was so sad to read about Merling and all the others that were friends. Rebecca Epperly and Mia

mrs. p-j said...

Thanks for posting Merlin's journey. Rumple (11 yr old pem) started dragging one back paw last december, and it would slip out behind him when standing. Our vet said 'arthritis' and told us to up his walks, because 'DM is rare'. We tried more walks, and both legs started to slip out, and knuckle under. Then he got a 'hot spot' and ended up at the ER vet -- who said, after one look, 'He's nibbling at the pins and needles feeling....does he have a cart to help with the DM?' Needless to say, he has a great cart, loves his walks, and we'll treasure what time we have. We're sad to know he wont have as long as he would have otherwise, but Merlin's tale has taught us much, and prepared us. Thank you for sharing.... Meg in London, Ontario.

got-corgis said...

I'm glad that I found your blog and that you are getting the word out about DM. I am a Corgi breeder in Northern Ca. and am doing what I can to spread the word as well. I test all of my adults as well as every pup that is born at my kennel. That is the only way that we can guarantee that we will be part of the solution and not part of a continuing problem with DM. Keep up the good work.